Trump Lashes Out at CEO Who Criticized Va. Response

Merck's Kenneth Frazier quits federal panel in protest
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2017 9:47 AM CDT
Trump Lashes Out at CEO Who Criticized Va. Response
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier listens at right as President Trump speaks during a meeting with manufacturing executives at the White House in February.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Critics of President Trump's response to racial violence in Virginia have been waiting to see whether he will condemn white supremacists on Monday. He may yet do that, but first he condemned one of those critics. "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" Trump tweeted Monday morning. The tweet came less than an hour after Frazier, the African-American CEO of Merck, announced that he was resigning from the federal panel in protest of what he saw as a tepid presidential response to the weekend unrest in Charlottesville, reports the Hill.

In his statement, Frazier said that American leaders must clearly reject "expressions of hatred, bigotry, and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal." That was a clear shot at Trump's Saturday afternoon response that condemned the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence" but also said "many sides" were to blame for it. "As CEO of Merck, and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism," wrote Frazier in announcing his departure from the panel. He is one of only a few black CEOs in the Fortune 500 ranks, notes the New York Times. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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